Former TBA president, Chattanooga mayor, Walker dies

Chattanooga lawyer Robert Kirk Walker died this afternoon at 81. He was president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 1965-66 and mayor of Chattanooga in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Current Mayor Ron Littlefield said Walker "during his one term did the very unpopular thing of carrying out a massive annexation. But it was necessary to spread the footprint of the city. He took the heat. Then he went back to his law practice." Walker was an attorney with the Strang Fletcher Carriger Walker Hodge and Smith firm. Arrangements were not available at press time, but will be handled through the Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Chapel. Read more at Chattanoogan.com:

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_102740.asp

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES RIELS

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Tony N. Brayton, Garland Erguden, and Robert Wilson Jones (on appeal) and Larry Nance and LaTonya Burrow (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Riels.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General, William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Gerald Harris and Michele Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BARKER

The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with the premeditated murder convictions, resulting in1 The defendant, James Riels, pled guilty to two counts of premeditated murder and two counts of felony murder for the murders of Mary Jane Cruchon and Franchion Pollack. He also entered guilty1 pleas to one count of especially aggravated robbery, one count of attempted especially aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated burglary. Following a capital sentencing hearing, the jury found three aggravating circumstances in each murder: (1) the defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies, the statutory elements of which involve the use of violence to the person; (2) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; and (3) the murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit a robbery. Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (7) (2003). The jury found one additional aggravating circumstance with respect to Franchion Pollack: the victim of the murder was seventy years of age, or older. Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(i)(14) (2003). The jury also found that these aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the jury imposed a sentence of death for each of the murder convictions. In a separate sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective thirty-five year sentence for the remaining noncapital convictions, to be served concurrently with the death sentences. The defendant appealed the sentences of death. After fully considering the issues2 raised by the defendant, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the sentences. Upon automatic appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(a)(1) (2003), this Court entered an order specifying four issues for oral argument: (1) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to cross-examine the defendant regarding the circumstances of the offenses and, if it did, was the error harmful; (2) whether the sentence was invalid under any of the mandatory issues for review set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1)(A)-(D) (2003); (3) whether the trial court's instruction to the jury that aggravated robbery is a felony whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and (4) whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to suppress. After a careful review of the record and relevant legal authority, we hold that the trial court erred in allowing the State to cross-examine the defendant and that the error was reversible. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand the case for a new capital sentencing hearing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/rielsj_030107.pdf


CAROLYN GOSS v. TENNALUM, a Division of Kaiser Aluminum

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

John D. Burleson, and Gregory Dean Jordan, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tennalum, a Division of Kaiser Aluminum.

Ricky L. Boren, Hill-Boren, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Carolyn Goss.

Judge: CORLEW

The Employer has appealed the determination by the trial court awarding compensation to the Employee. After consideration of the evidence, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel finds that the evidence does not preponderate against the finding of the trial court with regard to causation of the Employee's respiratory injury or the amount of vocational disability determined by the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2007/tennalum_030107.pdf


BRADLEY BRUCE SCOFIELD v. SHAILA JAN SCOFIELD

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brad W. Hornsby and Kerry Knox, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley Bruce Scofield.

Bert W. McCarter, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shaila Jan Scofield.

Judge: CLEMENT

This is a post-divorce dispute over custody of the parties' three minor children. In the Final Decree of Divorce, Mother was designated as the primary residential parent. Nineteen months later, the father petitioned to change custody of the children based upon his impending retirement from active duty in the U. S. Army and the mother's multiple post-divorce relocations of her residence and alleged abuse of the children. The trial court dismissed the petition finding the evidence insufficient to constitute a material change in circumstances. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/scofieldb_030107.pdf


IN RE S.R.C. & C.M.C.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles L. Moffatt IV, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant, S.C.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: LEE

The trial court terminated the parental rights of S.C. ("Father") to two of his daughters upon finding by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for terminating his parental rights existed and that termination was in the best interest of the children. On appeal, Father argues that statutory grounds did not exist to support the trial court's judgment terminating his parental rights. Upon our finding that there was clear and convincing evidence of Father's substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans entered into in this case, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/src_030107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANIEL EUGENE BRADFORD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard W. Deberry, Assistant District Public Defender, Camden, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Daniel Eugene Bradford.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Robert "Gus" Radford, District Attorney General; and John W. Overton, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Daniel Eugene Bradford, appeals the sentencing decision of the Hardin County Circuit Court. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Bradford pled guilty to aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, receiving concurrent sentences of three years for the felony conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor conviction. The manner and service of the sentences were to be determined by the trial court. On appeal, Bradford challenges the trial court's denial of probation. After review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/bradfordd_030107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CALVIN FLEMING

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William D. Massey (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, and Harold D. Archibald (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Calvin Fleming.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General; James Walter Freeland Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Calvin Fleming, was convicted of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. The Defendant was sentenced, as a career offender, to an effective sentence of sixty years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it admitted photographs of the victim's wounds into evidence because the State failed to authenticate them; (2) the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the Defendant's convictions for attempted first degree murder because there was no proof of premeditation; and (3) his convictions for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault violate constitutional principles of double jeopardy. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court as to the attempted murder, but we reverse the judgment as to the aggravated assault because the aggravated assault should have been merged into the attempted murder. Thus, we remand the case for the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/flemmingc_030107.pdf


ANTHONY KESHUN GOODS v. TONY PARKER, Warden

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Patrick R. McGill, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Anthony Keshun Goods.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The State appeals the habeas court's grant of a petition for habeas corpus relief filed by the Petitioner, Anthony Keshun Goods. The Petitioner alleged in his petition that his sentence was illegal because he was sentenced to concurrent terms when the law required him to be sentenced to consecutive terms. On appeal, the State contends the statutory requirement of consecutive sentences does not apply to the Petitioner, his petition is not yet ripe, and the remedy set out by the habeas court is improper. Finding reversible error in the judgment of the habeas court, we reverse the judgment and dismiss the habeas corpus petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/goodsa_030107.pdf


CHRISTIN M. JOHNSON, LPN v. TENNESSEE BOARD OF NURSING

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Frank J. Scanlon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christin M. Johnson, LPN

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., State Attorney General and Reporter, Sara E. Sedgwick, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Judge: COTTRELL

A formerly licensed practical nurse appeals a default judgment revoking her license by the Board of Nursing and claims, inter alia, that the Board failed to comply with applicable notice requirements. Because the administrative record does not reflect consideration of the rule governing proceedings by default, we reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/johnsonc_030107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAYMOND EARL MCKAY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Matthew R. Armour, Somerville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Shana McCoy-Johnson, Somerville, Tennessee (at guilty plea hearing), for the Appellant, Raymond Earl McKay.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Terry D. Dycus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Raymond Earl McKay, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief by the Fayette County Circuit Court. McKay pled guilty to one count of theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, a Class D felony, and was sentenced, as a career offender, to twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he asserts that his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we conclude that McKay received erroneous advise from counsel during the plea bargaining process, which resulted in the entry of an involuntary and unknowing guilty plea. Finding both deficient performance and prejudice, the case is remanded to the trial court for withdrawal of the guilty plea.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/mckayr_030107.pdf


Filling of Vacancies in County Offices

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-03-27

Opinion Number: 07-22

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-22.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Knox Term Limits
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Solution to legal 'talent drain' introduced in Senate
A bill establishing a program of law student loan repayment assistance has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, to address a growing problem of attracting and retaining qualified lawyers for public service careers. The John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007, has bipartisan support. "Low wages paid prosecutors and public defenders, along with the high cost of law school, are undermining confidence in the effectiveness of our criminal justice system," American Bar Association President Karen J. Mathis said in an editorial.
Read Mathis's statement here
Sheriff back on the job after drug arrest
Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley went back to work today, one month after being charged with one felony and one misdemeanor drug charge for allegedly obtaining at least 1,900 Lortab pills from a Nashville pharmacy. He has been in drug rehab since the arrest. He appeared in a Davidson County courtroom Wednesday, where he has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 25.
The Tennessean has more
Two lawyers start stint on
C-A editorial board
Four citizens have been added to the editorial board of the Commerical Appeal -- a first -- and two of them are lawyers. Daniel H. Kiel, a lawyer with Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC, and Vicky L. Powell, senior attorney for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., attended their first meeting Wednesday. The paper's president and publisher, Joseph Pepe, said the non-employees' participation on the editorial board helps the newspaper stay connected to the community. "Your voices are very important, because we don't want to be a monolith."
Read more about the new policy
Memphis law school team makes final four
A team from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law reached the final round of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition held recently at Pace University School of Law. The team, sponsored by the TBA's Environmental Law Section, is coached by professor David Case and is made up of law students Tamara Zellars Buck, Tiffany Taylor and Melissa Van Pelt.
Read more on the competition
FBI tackling unsolved civil-rights cases
Decades-old civil rights cases are being reopened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation amid a Justice Department focus on cracking unsolved cases from that era. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged that many of the cases may be beyond the boundaries of what the federal government can legally prosecute. But they "remain on our radar," he said.
The News Sentinel carried this AP story
Bribes from lawyer to judges alleged in court
Testimony in a federal court earlier this week revealed that an attorney took out two loans to give to two Mississippi circuit and chancery judges in return for favorable rulings in their courts. The judges are are accused of taking the bribes. All three have pleaded innocent.
The Commercial Appeal has the AP story
Legislative News
Officials ask for tougher laws for violent crime
Nearly four dozen police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors asked the legislature yesterday to increase punishment for gun crimes, street terrorism and gang violence, and to provide money to hire 64 new assistant district attorneys across the state. And they want those convicted to have additional prison time that would have to be served day-for-day, with no parole, consecutively to the sentence.
Read the details of the three-bill crime package in the Commercial Appeal
TBA-backed bills, others slated for committee action
While it is still early in the legislative session, committee calendars are starting to fill up, many with legislation of interest to Tennessee lawyers.
Read more about several key bills
Knox Term Limits
Does AG opinion open door for early elections?
Could the legislature legally require an early election for Knox County officeholders if their appointments are invalidated? That's how some are interpreting a recent state attorney general's opinion that addesses the subject. "We think this vindicates the mayor," said Bud Gilbert, a lawyer who has been advising Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. "It indicates there is a legal, constitutional pathway to having these elections sooner rather than later."
Read more in the News Sentinel
Read the attorney general's opinion
Shelby considers appointments; Knox watches
Moves in Shelby County to make some countywide offices such as sheriff and county trustee appointed positions rather than elected posts are being watched closely by Knox County officials. Shelby County officials are exploring the option, which was expressly permitted by the January state Supreme Court ruling upholding Knox County's charter and its term limits provision. Knox and Shelby are the only counties in Tennessee using a charter form of government. But Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale isn't considering making a similar push, a top aide said Wednesday.
Read more from the News Sentinel
New Knox register hires old boss as assistant
Knox County's newly appointed Register of Deeds Sherry Witt has hired her former boss, Steve Hall, as an administrative assistant at a salary of $69,000 a year. Hall was ousted from office by a state Supreme Court ruling in mid-January upholding the Knox County charter and its term-limits provision.
The News Sentinel has more
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at 1-800-368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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